Let me start with little something written in the early 1900’s by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. You may know it:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Ah yes, The Serenity Prayer. When I was a kid I used to obnoxiously sing it as I ran around my grandparents’ house. It was prominently displayed on the kitchen wall so I read it more times than I can count. Who knew what a truth it would become as I got older? Perhaps it provided a subconscious influence.
Day after day I talk to people about goals, challenges, great experiences and general life topics. It’s very clear that we tend to gravitate toward fixing, resolving, or simply hyper focusing on life elements we have little control over. Yet, we often overlook the areas in which we have absolute control.
Where in your life are you holding onto the first line of the message? Do you find it difficult to let go of control or accept something for what it is? Does something as simple as commuter traffic wreck you every day? If it does, you failed to accept it given the hour you leave and direction you travel. Since you cannot change it, can you change you? Is there a way you can embrace the delay and use that time to wind down from work, listen to a fulfilling audio book, catch up on calls with friends, or even sit in silence?
Notice how your lack of acceptance of situations you cannot control wreaks havoc on your serenity.
Courage to change something means risk of failing to do so. Remember, not trying is also not succeeding, it is being complacent. If you are okay with that then it is your obligation to yourself to let go of the fact that you have chosen the status quo and have decided to remain the same. If you don't you will continue to focus on an area you have control over but are unwilling to change, causing further stress and unhappiness.
As for wisdom, I think most of us know in our heart the difference between what we can and cannot control, it is a matter of accepting, letting go, and finding our inner courage.